Rehearsals for Massachusetts' American Repertory Theater's upcoming run of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita are underway, with performances set to begin May 17 ahead of a May 25 opening night. The company let cameras in for a press preview, giving us a first look at some of the numbers from the Sammi Cannold-directed production. See clips from "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," "A New Argentina," "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You," "High Flying Adored," and "And the Money Keeps Rolling In (And Out)" above.
Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story) is starring in the title role, opposite Gabriel Burrafato as Magaldi, Omar Lopez-Cepero as Che, Caesar Samayoa as Perón, and Naomi Serrano as Mistress. Sky Vaux Fuller is playing Child.
The ensemble comprises Martín Almirón, Julian Alvarez, Adrienne Balducci, Leah Barsky, Bianca Bulgarelli, Camila Cardona, Melody Celatti, Esteban Domenichini, Rebecca Eichenberger, Sean Ewing, Nicole Fernandez-Coffaro, David Michael Garry, Eddie Gutierrez, Eric Anthony Lopez, Jonatan Lujan, Caleb Marshall-Villarreal, Ilda Mason, Jeremiah Valentino Porter, Leonay Shepherd, and Maria Cristina Posada Slye. Marissa Barragán, Mathew Bautista, Isabella Lopez, and Miguel Angel Vasquez round out the company as swings.
With the production, Cannold returns to the Lloyd Webber musical after staging it at New York City Center in 2019. "With Hal Prince’s original production and ongoing research on the ground in Argentina as our north star, our phenomenal team and I will expand upon the ideas we began to explore at NYCC: examining Eva’s story from a female and Argentine perspective, portraying this woman as a humanized icon, and seeing Evita’s troubled teenage years as a dark, problematic backdrop lingering behind her dazzling 20s and 30s," shared Cannold in an earlier statement.
Cannold's creative team includes co-choreographers Emily Maltby and Argentine tango choreographer Valeria Solomonoff, music supervisor Kristen Blodgette, and music director Mona Seyed-Bolorforosh. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Lloyd Webber's originals. The production will also feature scenic design by Jason Sherwood, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Connor Wang, and hair and wig design by Ashley Rae Callahan. Claire Warden is intimacy director, and Victoria Navarro is production stage manager with Derric Nolte as stage manager and Elizabeth Ramirez as assistant stage manager. Casting is by Benton Whitley and Micah Johnson-Levy of the newly established Whitley Theatrical.
The Massachusetts run will be followed by an engagement at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., part of the company's 2023-24 season. Specific dates are to be announced.
Evita, which premiered in 1976 as a two-LP concept album, features a score with music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Rice. Hal Prince staged both the original London and New York productions of the musical, which made stars of Elaine Paige in London and Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone on Broadway. The score features such tunes as "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," "Buenos Aires," "A New Argentina," "Another Suitcase in Another Hall," "I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You," and "Rainbow High." Madonna, Antonio Banderas, and Jonathan Pryce starred in a 1996 film version; Elena Roger headed the cast of the London and Broadway revivals, the latter with Ricky Martin.